There are three passages of Scripture that tell us who a true servant of God is under the NEW covenant. When we read those three passages without any preconceived opinions, we will discover that all of us can be servants of God, in this day and age, if we want to be. Under the old covenant, only the Levites could be servants of God. They were not supposed to do any earthly work and were to be supported by the tithes of the other tribes of Israel. Babylonian Christianity today teaches that under the new covenant too, only those who give up their secular jobs can be servants of God - and that they must be supported by the tithes of other Christians. But this is the teaching of man's tradition and not that of Scripture!
1. Free from Sin
Being made free from sin and become servants to God" (Romans 6:22).
This is the first requirement - to be free from sin. It is obviously easier to be free of one's earthly job than to be free from sin. Jesus worked in a secular job. Yet He was a servant of God even then.
A man who gets angry and loses his temper cannot be a servant of God. He may be a preacher or even a chief-pastor, but he cannot be a servant of God. Many pastors shout praises to God in "other tongues" on Sunday morning and then shout angrily at their wives in their "mother-tongue" the same afternoon. Is the Holy Spirit able to control us only when we speak in other tongues, but not when we speak in our mother-tongue? That is a deception. I thank God that I have spoken in tongues for 22 years. It has edified me and delivered me totally from depression, gloom and discouragement all these years. But I thank God that the Holy Spirit also controls my language when I speak in my mother-tongue - to my wife, to my brothers, to strangers and to beggars.
A man who lusts after women with his eyes cannot be a preacher of the gospel or a servant of God. Only one who is radical enough to be willing even to pull out his eye to avoid sin can be a servant of God. When was the last time you wept on your pillow at night, because you slipped up with your eyes? If you are casual about this matter, you will backslide inwardly little by little until one day you fall publicly.
A man who tells a lie in order to make a little more money or in order to gain some honour for himself is actually a servant of the devil - for the devil is the father of all lies. He cannot be a servant of God.
One who cannot love ALL his enemies, or do good to ALL who harm him, is totally unfit to preach the gospel. If you have the slightest bit of bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart against anyone, then the best thing for you to do is to keep your mouth shut, go home and repent and cleanse your heart of those evils. You cannot be a servant of God.
2. Free from Mammon
You cannot be a servant of God and a servant of Mammon. You must hate one and love the other. You must hold on to one and despise the other" (Luke 16:13).
This is the second requirement - to be free from mammon (money and all material things). Again, it is easier to be free from one's secular job than it is to be free from mammon. You have to make a choice as to which you are going to serve - either God or Mammon. Many "full time workers" are seeking to serve God AND Mammon. They earn more as so-called "servants of God" today, than they would ever have earned if they had been in a secular profession. Anyone who has not had to sacrifice earthly comforts, money and material things in serving God is NOT really serving God at all. Any believer can be a servant of God - but he must be free from loving mammon. In fact, if you read the above verse carefully, you will find that Jesus said that we had to hate mammon and despise mammon in order to be servants of God. If you can say before God that that is your attitude towards mammon or at least that that is the attitude that you want to have towards mammon, then you qualify to be a servant of God - not otherwise. How many full-time workers qualify by the standard that Jesus has set here? Very, very few!
The test as to who we serve is discovered by whose orders we obey - God's or Mammon's. Whose claims have priority in our lives - God's or Mammon's? No-one can serve two masters. When money calls you, if you respond immediately, you are a servant of mammon.
Why is it that most preachers travel only to preach in comfortable places where there are rich believers? How many are interested in regularly visiting the poor believers and establishing them in the faith? Those are the true servants of God.
The devil knows that a man who serves Mammon is useless to God. And so he leaves such preachers alone. The greatest insult that the devil can give you is to leave you alone and to allow you to get honour from worldly people and from the worldly leaders of apostate Christendom.
A servant of God thinks constantly about how to win souls and build the church. That is what he dreams about at night too. A servant of Mammon however thinks and dreams day and night about how to make more money. We cannot fool our "subconscious" - because it knows, more than anyone else, exactly what we desire. If we love Mammon, let us be honest and tell God that - and ask Him to deliver us from it. There is great hope for honest believers - but NO hope for dishonest hypocrites.
We hear these days of many "miracle crusades". But I am still waiting to see one crusade where the miracle of "not asking people to give money" is seen!! Jesus and His apostles never took an offering from people in any of their meetings. Yet blind, foolish believers today admire preachers who unashamedly ask for money and even imagine that these are great servants of God. The clearer light of the judgment-seat of Christ will reveal that such preachers were only serving themselves and not God.
Believers draw a dividing line to separate those who are evangelical in doctrine from those who are liberal. But in such a case, the devil and all his demons will also be on the "evangelical" side, because they are all evangelical in doctrine (James 2:19)!! But God draws a line to separate those who love Mammon from those who love God. Then we find that the devil and his demons are found among the lovers of Mammon.
If we seek God's kingdom first, God will give us all that we need for our life on earth, without our pursuing after them. I have found this to be true in all the years of my Christian experience. Heaven and earth will pass away, but God's Word will not pass away. We must all be living demonstrations of the fact that God supplies ALL the needs of those who seek His kingdom first. Although none of us may be able to say that we have consistently sought God's kingdom first at all times throughout our Christian life, we should certainly be able to testify that we have not run after money. If we are preachers, we should also have this testimony that we do not go anywhere to preach just because we know we can get money there, that we do not seek to please the rich, that we do not ignore the poor, that we are not interested in taking up offerings, that we do not make our financial needs known to people and that we do not expect people to give us money. Paul could testify to having lived such a life. He said that he lived like that in order to expose all the money-loving preachers in his time who claimed that they too were serving God like he did (2 Corinthians 11:10-13 - TLB).
In our day also, there is a great need for living witnesses like Paul, who will expose the money-loving preachers that are found in abundance in Christendom. We know very well why the devil hates us and our ministry so much, that he makes believers (who have never come to our meetings or heard us speak) call us heretics, antichrists, terrorists, false prophets, etc. It is because we are troubling Satan's kingdom so much by exposing the fact that full-time workers who love money and preach the gospel of Christ are actually servants of Satan (See 2 Corinthians 11:15 in the context of verses 10-13).
Jesus said that if we were not faithful in the use of Mammon, God would not commit the true riches of His kingdom to us (Luke 16:11). When we see the terrible lack of revelation on God's Word, and the boring preaching of today's preachers, we can understand clearly that the reason for all this is that these preachers have NOT been faithful with money.
3. Free from Seeking to Please Men
If I seek to please men, I cannot be a servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).
This is the third requirement - to be free from seeking to please men. Once again, it is easier to be free of a secular job than to be free from seeking to please men. If we preach God's Word to please men, we are servants of men and not of God. When a preacher wants to be invited back once again to a prestigious convention where he can get more money and honour next year, he can be tempted to modify his message so that nobody is offended by what he says. Thus he becomes a servant of men. When you pray in such a way in public as to impress men, you are worshipping men's opinions and not the living God. God does not hear such prayers, because they are offered to men and not to Him. In the same way, we could examine ourselves concerning the way we dress, the way we talk to people, and even the way we walk. If any of these things are done to impress men with our "holiness" or perhaps our "humility", we are servants of men and not servants of God. Even if you seek to please your wife/husband, you cannot please God.
The more you please God the more you will be called evil names by men who do not know God - even by religious leaders in Christendom. Jesus was called "the prince of devils". How much more His disciples will be called by such names - because they do not seek to please any pope or archbishop or chief-pastor or any human being on the earth.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon